Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A neatly wrapped package

Don't you love it when a story comes in a neat package - has a clear beginning and a satisfying end - in other words, 'closure'. That was the story of today's hike (Tuesday 6 March, Day 60 of this adventure).

The day started at sunrise atop Max Patch. In the above photo, the Smokies loom above everything at left, and in front, centered is Snowbird Mountain. Perhaps you can see a little white gleam on its summit. The zoom-shot shows it. As advertised in the guide book, if you look west to the summit of Snowbird Mountain on a sunny clear morning, you can see the white painted Aerial Navigation Tower gleaming in the light.

Next comes the eight mile trek to the summit of Snowbird to see that tower close up. It involved a drop down to another of the ubiquitous places called 'Deep Gap', this one containing the Groundhog Creek Shelter where I met 'Selva' and 'Skezzer', two delightful guys out hiking during their spring break. Then came the climb and finally the 'payoff' - the close up view of that Nav Tower on the summit:

Looking back toward Max Patch, now in full noon-day light, the light brown grass stood out in this wide view:

And looking more closely, there were people looking back, no doubt some of them peering across the eight miles of clear mountain air toward me. Closure.

Of course, for full closure, you have to do what few AT hikers do, return to the beginning point. On the way back I met two guys out for a long section hike from Newfound Gap to Shenandoah Park, forgot to ask their trail names, and later I met fast moving 'just Paul ... I don't really have a trail name' who is thru-hiking and hoping to finish before July 1st.

Paul started in Springer on February 16th, so he's making good time. He lamented that all the trail friendships he's making don't last long because he hasn't yet found anybody who keeps the same pace. I told him about the two Shenandoah guys - turns out they plan to stop at the same shelter tonight (Roaring Fork) - and Paul's eyes lit up, hopeful of a worthy set of trail companions. I wished him good luck and explained that he may pass me again somewhere north of Caledonia Park in PA after I reach Springer and make my 'flip-flop'. I've made such promises to a number of NoBo thru-hikers, and I'm afraid I'll forget faces - I'm really bad that way. But that's a 'closure' issue for another day. Today my story was all wrapped up neatly in a package and tied with string - no loose ends allowed.


Here's the track with link to more photos from today's hike:

AT Day 60 - Max Patch to Snowbird Mtn at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in North Carolina

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